Today's Student Assignment Committee meeting provided much data but few answers.
There was a brief detour into achievement in which it was proposed that another committee of the Board (the Policy Committee, whose operation has been suspended by the Board) design a "policy" to promote student achievement by holding schools accountable and replacing personnel or programs that fail. There was a more sustained effort to extract data from staff the would show magnet schools and busing are a bad idea. This data is on the WCPSS website if you would like to review it. There was a significant amount of prearranged node flipping to address concerns raised by constituents of John Tedesco and Debra Goldman. Among the key questions neither addressed nor answered:
- Given significant evidence from multiple studies that concentrating poverty and isolating African-Americans impairs the academic performance of poor and minority students in the resulting environments, why should the Board adopt a reassignment plan that does those things before it determines the steps that might be taken to promote achievement in spite of them?
- Do the base students who attend socioeconomically diverse magnet schools perform better than they would perform if their school were a racially isolated, high poverty school?
- How will it be possible to preserve the existing magnet system in anything like its current form, given the proposed reassignments?
More on each of these topics later.